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Review update: 2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X off-road pickup truck is lost and that's good

May 1, 2020

Get lost isn’t the worst thing I’ll hear all day, not by a long shot.

Thirty-one minutes from my doorstep in Colorado is nowhere. I like that. Off-road pickups like the 2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X tell me to “get lost.” Done deal.  

There’s a small but growing sub-set of pickup buyers without farm equipment, families, boats, or any other compelling reason to own a truck. I own more snowboards than boats, more hiking boots than tools, and the only manual labor I have most weekends is lugging my dogs around the state park.

A pickup that gets me to the trailhead or campsite—and further—is useful. Hauling people comfortably helps, too.

For those reasons, I saddled up a 2020 Titan Pro-4X and hit the bricks. Then the dirt. Then no road at all.

“Get lost” wasn’t just on my neighbors’ faces when I fired up the Titan’s V-8 in the early morning, I was hellbent on getting lost too.

The Titan gets a 5.4 TCC Rating, which is mid-pack among full-size rivals. That score is buoyed by standard active safety gear that others skip—I skipped testing that, too. Here’s what I learned.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Hit: No brodozer

The Red Alert Pro-4X tester added some visual flair that the regular Titan skips. The badges and running boards have small, body-colored details that, at first blush, look like the truck has a terminal case of red eye in Colorado. After a week with the truck, the color and accents grew on me without tiring. It looks the part of an off-road truck, and for a lot of pickup owners, that’s the point.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

 

Miss: Bouncy ride

Titan Pro-4X trucks get Bilstein off-road monotube shocks that are glorious in the dirt, but a paint-shaker on the road. The ride, especially unladen, is bouncy and uncomfortable on the highway. Rippled pavement or even washboard roads are tiresome after just a few minutes. If you’re considering a Pro-4X, you’re considering a concession in comfort.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

 

Hit: Better 9-speed

The list of Titan’s upgrades for 2020 included a Jatco 9-speed automatic transmission that replaced the 7-speed from last year. The 9-speed is more refined, but it hardly shows in the EPA’s fuel economy ratings (up from 15 mpg city, 20 highway, 17 combined to 15/21/17 mpg in Pro-4X models). The shifts in the new Titan are smoother, especially at highway speeds, and the 9-speed is better at low-speed off-roading, where the 7-speed struggled and could overheat on the trail.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Bonus: Nissan’s updated 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8 has good pull (a prolific thirst, however) and confident power. Among similarly sized V-8s, the Titan’s stacks up well against Chevy’s 5.3-, Ram’s 5.7-, and Toyota’s 5.7-liter V-8s—Nissan’s is more powerful than all three. The bad news? That’s rated for premium fuel (Ram recommends mid-grade and the rest ask for regular) and that’s a big ask at 14 mpg combined, according to our drives.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

 

Miss: Too expensive

Despite tipping the scales at more than two tons, the Titan’s $3,000 price hike for 2020 is the heavier thud for prospective shoppers. The Titan is equipped with active safety features that others largely skip, but our tester’s final price of $60,180 puts the Titan Pro-4X extremely in range of the Ram 1500 Rebel and Ram 2500 Power Wagon, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trail Boss, and even the Ford F-150 Raptor. That’s a murder’s row of off-road trucks.

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Hit: Good flourish

From the stitches in the seats to the embossed badges and tailgate, the Titan finally may be coming into its own. The Warrior-inspired style is distinct from competitors, which is a welcome change from prior Titans that looked too close to a store-brand pickup.

 

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Hit and Miss: Infotainment

Nissan subbed in a glossy 9.0-inch touchscreen into the Titan that’s more functional, easier to see, and clearer than the touchscreens in their other vehicles. Aside from the Ram 1500’s optional tablet-size touchscreen, the Titan’s is the largest and maybe the sharpest of all.

Unfortunately, it’s saddled with Nissan’s infotainment software that’s confusing and counterintuitive.

 

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Miss: Poor digital instruments

While the touchscreen is sharp, the driver’s digital information cluster is not. It’s poorly backlit and hard to see. What’s more, the icons and numbers can be fairly small and dim. Bummer.

 

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X

Miss: Too big for trails

Like most off-roading pickups, the Titan Pro-4X is a goliath on the trails. Placing the front wheels is a chore with its long hood and tall body. It’ll handle a rutted two-track, slippery grades, even some light bouldering, but smaller pickups and SUVs do rock climbing and narrow trails much easier.

_______________________________________

2020 Nissan Titan Pro-4X Crew Cab 4x4

Base price: $51,385, including destination

Price as tested: $60,180

Drivetrain: 400-horsepower 5.6-liter V-8, 9-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 15/21/17 mpg

The hits: Improved transmission, growing looks, good touchscreen

The misses: Big off-roader, thirst, bouncy ride.

2020
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2020
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